Willie & The Lapdog

by Duncan Wells

Scene Four

It is now morning. Dan is asleep and still in his clothes. It is obvious that he has been up all night studying. Willie enters from outside carrying a bucket of water. He is singing The Old Rugged Cross.

Willie: C'mon lazy arse! Time ta get up.

Dan: (Half asleep) Wha'?

Willie: You know wha'! Time ta get up!

Willie sets down bucket. Empties wash basin and then refills with water from the bucket. Dialogue throughout.

Dan: Ohhh God! I'm tired. I was up all night. Just a fewmore minutes.

Willie: No more minutes. Now, c'mon or I'll be draggin' ya outta there by the head.

Dan: God I hate mornings.

Willie: That's just an excuse so ya can stay in bed.

Dan: Every day should start at one in the afternoon.

Willie: Just get up an' get yer gear together.

Dan: Give me a second.

Willie: An' no seconds neither.

Dan: Oh God!

Willie: We got work ta do. An' that means we gotta work. Got it?

Dan: I got it Willie. I got it!

Willie: Then get movin'.

Dan: Tsk! I just got up Willie. Give me a break.

Willie: Look pal, you wanna stay up all night, that's your business.

Dan: Will you leave me alone?

Willie: That's all ya been doin'. Stayin' up wit' the bats. Goddamned bug-eyed! Too tired ta do anything!

Dan: I was studying and there's never anything to do anyway.

Willie: Ya come here ta work under my employment then ya come here ta work an' that don't mean stayin' in bed neither.

Dan: I'm awake Willie! Look at me! I'm awake, ok?

Willie: Good, now let's get goin'. (No reply) I said, c'mon! Get over here an' splash yer face.

Dan gets up and crosses to basin. He notices the water bucket

Dan: I see you were down to the birch trees again.

Willie: So?

Dan: You seem to like it down there. I mean, you seem to be down there an awful lot.

Willie: Yeah, well somebody gotta go down ta the brook fer water 'round here.

Dan: You must go down there at least twice a day.

Willie: Why don't cha just get yer gear together an' mind yer own business.

Dan: Take it easy Willie. I'm just asking, that's all. It's no big deal.

Willie: I'm takin' care 'a the flower garden down there, ok?

Dan: Humph! Strrange place for a flower garden if you ask me.

Willie: Yeah, well I ain't askin' ya, ok?

Dan: Can't be musch sun getting through those trees.

Willie: There's lotsa sun gettin' through ta them flowers an' b'sides it's none of yer Goddamned business if it is or it ain't so shut the hell up an' let's get ta work.

Dan: What's for breakfast?

Willie: You missed breakfast.

Dan: I can't go out there digging graves on an empty stomach. Just a cup of tea. I'll only be a minute.

Willie: (Propping his shovel against the wall) Alright! G'wan! An' hurry up!

Dan: Bacon's all gone.

Willie: Never mind the bacon. Just get yer cuppa tea. We ain't got all day.

Dan: I'm hugry.

Willie: (Sigh) There's some 'a them things you bought over there.

Dan: Wheat crackers.

Willie: Whatever the hell they are, they taste like wood.

Dan: Is the tea still hot?

Willie: Should be.

Dan: Good.

Willie: But there ain't no sugar.

Dan: That's ok.

Willie: Ain't no milk either.

Dan: No milk?

Willie: I used it all this mornin'.

Dan: You could have saved me some.

Willie: I was up first an' that's the rule. Whoever gets up first gets the milk an' whatever else is 'round.

Dan crosses to table with tea and cracker box

Dan: You're always making up new rules.

Willie: That one ain't new. The early bird gets the worm. You musta hearda that one b'fore.

Dan: But you're always up first.

Willie: An' whose fault is that?

Dan: But you're up before the sun. It's still dark outside.

Willie: So?

Dan: That's crazy!

Willie: Yeah, well I got the milk though didn't I!

Dan: Yes, Willie, you got the milk.

Willie: So it ain't so crazy then, is it!

Dan: No Willie, you're right. It's isn't crazy at all.

Willie: Ok then smart ass. Now, hurry up an' finish eatin' yer wooden crackers 'n tea.

Long Pause. Dan eats.

Dan: Do you like having me around?

Willie: Wha'?

Dan: Do you like having me around?

Willie: Awww geez, eat will ya?

Dan: You're always pickin' at me for one reason or another.

Willie: Don't gimme no lecture. I don't want no lecture!

Dan: You're always picking at me and you're never really in a good mood and when I suggest something to you, you start yelling at me. No matter what I say or do you never seem to agree.

Willie: That's cos you're always wrong.

Dan: All you ever want to do is argue.

Willie: C'mon, let's go.

Dan: It's almost as if you don't want me around.

Willie: Awww, g'way!

Dan: Well?

Willie: I....I like ya, ok? I...I need the help.

Dan: Is that it? You need the help? You don't like my company? (No reply) I like yours.

Willie: You're ok havin' around.

Dan: Yeah, well you don't act like I'm ok having around. You never say anything.

Willie: Holy Geez, ok, I like havin' ya around. S'matter 'a fact I love havin' ya 'round. I don't know what I'd do if ya weren't here, ok? That good enough?

Dan: Don't make fun of me Willie.

Willie: Then what they hell ya want?

Dan: I don't know.

Willie: Aww you young guys don't know when ya got it good. Stayin' here, don't have ta pay no rent, pay no ;lectric bills. It ain;t good enough that yer gettin' a cheap ride. Now ya want me ta kiss ya all over the face an' tell ya I love ya.

Dan: You don't have to tell me you love me, Willie. You don't have to say anything you don't want.

Willie: Humph!

Long pause. Willie crosses to the fridge, reaches in back a pulls out a saucer with two sausages on it.

Willie: Here.

Dan: Thanks.

Willie: Their kinda cold.

Dan: That's ok.

Willie: Got some jam fer them crackers if ya want.

Dan: No this is fine.

Pause. Willie sits.

Willie: I...I like ya Dan.

Dan: Yeah?

Willie: Yeah. You're nice ta have around too. It's different fer me ta have someone ta talk to.

Dan: To yell at.

Willie: (Smiling) Yeah...ta yell at. But we're still buddies, wha'?

Dan: Yeah, we're still buddies.

Willie: Just like father 'n son, wha'? (Pause. No reply. Willie stands.) Ya'll set ta go?

Dan: Yeah, I guess so.

They get shovels, picks, etc. Dialogue throughout

Dan: Gonna be a hard day?

Willie: Naw, just a little diggin' an' we're done.

Dan: Maybe we can go down and have a look at that garden.

Willie: There's a good idea.

Dan: And maybe tonight we can have a couple of games of checkers.

Willie: An' a couple 'a drinks 'a rum.

Heading out

Dan: You know I don't drink.

Willie: Aw c'mon! Put some hairs on yer chest. Ya can't be a grave digger unless ya got hairs on yer chest.

Lights Fade

Scene Five

Willie and Dan return home. They have mud on their boots, shovels and gloves. The lights outside have dimmed. Dan enters first. It is evening.

Dan: (Moaning in pain) Ohhhhhh! Thank God!

Willie: Oh fer Chris'sake, straighten yerself up.

Dan: My back is killing me. (To chesterfield) Ohh, comfort at last!

Willie: C'mon and quit yer cry-babyin'. Get yer gear off. Do a little bitta work an' yer fallin' apart.

Dan: Three six foot holes is not just a little bit of work.

Willie: Aw, g'wan! Ya don't hear me moanin' an' whinin'. (He removes his boots.) A young fella like you should be able ta work all day. Me? Ha! I'm what....sixty? Seventy? It's good fer ya keepin' the muscles goin' like that. Now, c'mon an' get up.

Dan gets up and begins taking off his gear. Dialogue throughout.

Dan: I fell like I pulled a muscle.

Willie: Aw, don't be s'foolish. We had a good day today...down to the garden...eatin; lunch by the brook there. Ya can't ask fer much more than that.

Dan: Well, I have to say I enjoyed myself down there. It's so nice and quiet.

Willie: Just like paradise, wha'?

Dan: And that garden is fabulous. I can't believe how big it is.

Willie: I been workin' att'er few a long while now, weedin' an' fixin;'er up. S'only way yer gonna get anything in this world. Ya gotta keep at it - c'mon, let have that game of checkers.

Dan: Awww, Willie! You're not gonna make me play checkers.

Willie: (Upset) You said ya was gonna play wit' me tonight! Ya said so just b'fore we left fer work!

Dan: I know, but I'm really beat.

Willie: I'll beat ya if ya don't get over here.

Dan: But I'm tired.

Willie: Yer always Goddamned tired, now get over here.

Dan: Aw, Willie?

Willie: Never mind! Ferget it! I'll...I'll play by myself then.

Dan: Oh stop it.

Willie: No, you go ta sleep ya baby. Ya sook!

Dan: Don't start acting like a child.

Willie: Just never mind, just...just never mind.

Willie begins picking up Dan's breakfast dishes and cleaning them. Dialogue throughout. Dan finishes getting off his gear and lays back with one of his study books.

Willie: I got stuff ta do anyway. Stuff ta do, like cleanin' your dishes.

Dan: I can do my own -

Willie: Ha! A guy sez he's gonna do somethin' an' then he don't do it...that's what they call lyin'....man's s'pposed ta stick to his word...do what he sez he's gonna do...least that's the way I was brought up - look! Lookit that wha'? Ya said ya was tired an' now lookit ya! Ya got yer face stuck in a Goddamned book again.

Dan: I have to study Willie. I only have a few more days until -

Willie: Said ya was tired!

Dan: I only have a few days left Willie. I have to study!

Willie: Aw, g'wan! You don't gotta do no studyin'! Your old man'll make sure ya get yer liar papers.

Dan: What?

Willie: You heard me!

Dan: Who the hell do you think you are?

Willie: He got lotsa friends in the right places. Don't you worry! Anybody who's been liarin' fer that long got lotsa drag an' lotsa suck ups who'll do him a little favour.

Dan: Oh shut up!

Willie: Shut up yerself or I'll nail ya.

Dan: That's not fair Willie.

Willie: (Mocking) That's not fair Willie.

Dan: I've been studying hard for this.

Willie: Don't know why. Ya prob'ly don't even have ta write the stoopid exam.

Dan: If I pass these examinations it's because I studied hard and not because my Goddamned father pulled any strings. You got that?

Willie: Aw, ya don't even know how the world works.

Dan: Lay off!

Willie: Ya hung around here ya might learn a thing or two. (No reply) Open yer eyes a little....find out what's goin' on in the world instead 'a havin' a book stuck in front 'a ya alla the time.

Dan: (Sigh) I said shut up, Willie.

Willie: Don't know what the hell yer doin' here anyways. (No reply) I siad I don;t know what the hell yer doin' here!!

Dan: I'm here to study for my bar exams!

Willie: Yer here because yer too cheap ta pay fer a hotel room an' too lazy ta work fer the money!

Dan: I don't have to work for money, remember? I'm rich!

Willie: Yeah? Well...well, ya wouldn't get any money fer workin' anyway on accounta yer too lazy.

Dan: I do my share of work around here.

Willie: Ya don't lift a Goddamned hand in here. Out there ya might do a little but even wit' dat ya gotta be cryin' over yer stoopid back.

Dan: But it hurts!

Willie: Well, it Goddmaned well shouldn't hurt.

Dan: But I'm not used to hard work, Willie! Christ!! I never had to do anything like that before.

Willie: (Rise) Yeah, well I did! Ya hear that? All my Goddamned life! That's all I ever did is dig an' pick at coal an' rocks an' dirt an' shit an' muck! Do you hear me?

Long Pause

Dan: I...I hear you Willie.

Willie: (Grabs his flashlight) Aw, I gotta get outta here. I gotta go fer a walk or somethin'.

Willie exits slamming the screen door behind. Dan crosses to the window and watches him go. Dan lies back on the chesterfield and returns to his studying. The lights dim to mark the passing of time. The lights rise. He lays down his book, picks up the tape recorder, carries it to the table and clicks play. The song, When You Were Sweet Sixteen by the Furies plays. Willie returns and stands outside the screen door staring in at Dan as he sits quietly listening to the song.

Willie: Nice song.

Dan: (Fright) Jesus!!! (Shuts off recorder) You nearly gave me a heart attack.

Willie: Sorry, I...I was listenin' ta the song. Don't hear a lot 'a stuff like that anymore. what is it, Irish?

Dan: Yeah, I guess so...something like that.

Willie: Well, anyway, it's nice. Least I liked it.

Dan puts the recorder away

Dan: Then I guess you and I have the same taste....in music I mean.

Willie: I guess. Ya don't gotta put that away on accounta me, ya know,

Dan: No, I was finished with it anyway. (Pause) You were gone a long time.

Willie: Yeah. I took a little stroll ta cool off.

Dan: You were pretty mad at me when you left.

Willie: Yeah, I...ah...I'm sorry, ok?

Dan: That's ok. I guess you don't want to have that game of checkers now, huh?

Willie: Aw, you don't really wanna play checkers.

Dan: I don't have anymore studying to do tonight and I'm not tired anymore.

Willie: Aw, maybe not. I don't feel like it. I think...I think maybe I should go ta bed.

Dan: Maye we could talk?

Willie: Naw, I don't wanna talk.

Dan: Well, you know I'm leaving in a few days.

Willie: Yeah. Ya told me already...the other day....'member?

Dan: I thought you might like to talk...you know....about having a farewell party?

Willie: A party?

Dan: Well, it wouldn't be much...just you and me....the two of us.

Willie: An' maybe we can get yer machine goin'...have some nice party music.

Dan: And we could cook up a couple of steaks...maybe get a bottle of wine. I can drink a glass wine.

Willie: yeah, a party'd be nice.

Dan: Then it's settled.

Willie: Nice if we could get ourselves a couple 'a wimmen too wha'?

Dan: Naw.

Willie: Wha'?

Dan: Naw.

Willie: I dunno boy...couple 'a wimmen be pretty nice.

Dan: Kidding right?

Willie: 'Bout what?

Dan: Well, you just don't seem like the womanizing type.

Willie: Yeah? Well, I had my share 'a wimmen in my time...well, I had one fer sure.

Dan: Just one?

Willie: Ha! No...no, I had all kinds'a wimmen. Loads 'n loads'a them. Geez, one time I had three of 'em goin' at the same time.

Dan: Naw.

Willie: Sure did. An' the whole three of 'em wanted ta marry me but...well, you know how it is.

Dan: Never got married.

Willie: No! No...no, I didn't. I'm gonna go ta bed now, ok? You go ahead an' study or do whatever ya want.

Dan: Ok. Maybe I'll have a snack...see what we got in the fridge. (He rummages through the fridge and finds an orange) I guess we'll have to work again tomorrow?

Willie: They'll be out wit' the bodies tomorra.

Dan: Yeah, I figured as much.

Willie: It's easier puttin' the dirt back in the hole. (Pause) I can prob'ly do it myself is ya want.

Dan: No, that's ok.

Willie: Ya sure?

Dan: Yeah. I mean, it's not like I have to do this every day.

Willie: Like I said, some days we're busy an' some days we ain't.

Dan: (Smiling) You know, all the time I've been here this is the first time I ever had to actually dig a grave.

Willie: Three of 'em.

Dan: Funny, isn't it?

Long Pause

Willie: Dan?

Dan: Yeah?

Willie: I don't think I wanna have no party fer ya goin' away.

Dan: No?

Willie: We can have them steaks an' that bottle 'a wine but...I don't think I wanna have no party.

Dan: Well, if you don't want to I....I suppose you don't have to.

Willie: G'night.

Freeze. Fade To Black


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